3 Seafood Dishes with Surprising Origins

DSC_0468You’ve seen each of these delicious seafood dishes on the menu and probably ordered one of them at least once, but where did they originate? In this post we travel abroad to Europe and back again to discover the old and new world origins of three of our favorite classics!

Bouillabaisse is a tomato based seafood stew made with assorted fish and a hint of saffron. The hearty European delicacy first appeared in the city Marseille located on the French Riviera. Though it most likely came to fruition sooner, it is known that in the early 1900s local fisherman used excess fish that didn’t sell at the market to make it. In Marseille the dish is intentionally prepared for large groups of people. What began as a common fisherman’s stew eventually became a worldwide culinary delight. To be considered an authentic bouillabaisse today, it must contain at least three different types of fish and usually includes shellfish. Here at the restaurant, our bouillabaisse follows suit: consisting of fish, jumbo shrimp, oysters, clams, sea scallops, and half of a Florida lobster tail!

Photo by Jerry Centanni

Photo by Jerry Centanni

Shrimp Scampi, even the name sounds Italian. Well, it is Italian, but Scampi is actually the name of a European crustacean closely resembling a lobster. Originally, the dish referred to the Scampi cooked in its own juices which graduated to being prepared in garlic and olive oil. From there however, you have to hop back over to the United States when Italian immigrants adapted the dish as we know it today. Instead of Scampi, they used shrimp and created variations on the sauce with the base remaining very close to its original form. Italian cooks at the turn of the 20th century were restricted to using whatever ingredients happened to be available at the time, which accounts for many differences in style ranging from a touch of tomato, to breaded shrimp, and the use of both linguine and rice. Our recipe has close ties to its origins, comprised of lemon, parsley, and garlic butter over rice.

Et tu, Brute? There is some ambiguity as to the origin of the famous Caesar Salad, but historians have managed to narrow it down to indicate that a restaurateur by the name of Caesar Cardini is most likely responsible for either inventing the dish or employing his brother who did. This discrepancy was hotly debated for years when the dish gained popularity.  In any case, it is said to have been accidentally created either here in the U.S. or in Mexico during prohibition. The Cardinis owned restaurants in both California and Tijuana and on a very busy night at one of their restaurants they were forced to improvise. The new creation caught on and apparently even Julia Child had the opportunity to try the original salad when Caesar prepared for her at his San Diego restaurant. On both our dinner and lunch menus, you will find several twists on the traditional recipe with the addition of chicken, shrimp, or lobster. If you’ve never tried our Lobster Caesar, you’re missing out on something special!

Next time you visit us, try one of our delicious classically prepared seafood dishes and take a stroll through history!

Comments are closed.